jump to navigation

A slip of the hand. 8/26/2006

I managed to get my passport sorted out yesterday. My number was called, I walked up to the counter. I exchanged pleasantries with the officer behind the counter, and he handed me my new passport.

He told me to sign here, here, here and here. I was about to put my signature in the new passport, when a kid, about 6 years old, ran up to counter, jostled my elbow, grabbed his water bottle which he had left on my counter, and ran off. I muttered a “Hey”, and thought no more of it. Until I looked down, and saw that my signature now looked like something Andy Warhol might have drawn. There was a thick black line crossing the entire width of the page.

I cursed, and showed the page to the officer. He gasped, and muttered an apology. I asked him what we could do about it. He said he could give me a new passport for Monday. I said that wouldn’t be any good, because my flight was at 0900 Monday morning. He was really apologetic, since he knew it wasn’t my fault. He consulted his senior officer, showing him my now defaced passport, and the officer come over to me.

He asked if I could wait an hour or so, and they would give me a new passport. Since I didn’t have any choice, I agreed, and went off to find someplace to have coffee. I was fuming inside at the bad manners of this kid, who rushed off without even an apology, and no thought about what he had done wrong. There are times when I really feel that parents should be held accountable for their kids. They had never taught this kid not to interrupt adults, or queue up to wait his turn. All he knew what that he had to get what he wanted, and who gives a fuck about anyone else. Which is fairly typical of the mindset of some people.

I finally got my passport a half hour later, being invited into the inner office to do so. I sat down, and again received an apology from the officer, even though it wasn’t the department’s fault in any way. It is nice to see professionalism making a come back into the civil service, even if it is just in a small way.

Girl Friday. 8/25/2006

Desmosedici GP07 Testing. 8/23/2006

The Desmosedici GP07 made its appearance after Ducati’s successful weekend at Brno.  The GP07, which displaces 800 c.c. in a V-4 configuration, is an extension of the GP06, and intended to address some details in the chassis, in order to improve handling.

During testing, Loris Capirossi had good things to say about the GP07.

Also notable in the new 2007 Desmosedici is the almost 999′esque tail, with lots of cut-outs and vents.  The heat trail from that exhaust must make that a hot seat in warm weather racing.

It will be interesting to see this machine next year in Sepang, especially with 50 degree track temperatures.

The Snark gets on an airplane.

Looks like the honeymoon is just about over. After 4 weeks of kicking my heels and waiting for something to happen, it appears that the game is afoot. It actually feels good to be exercising my brain again, doing something that I, well, enjoy isn’t the word for it, but at least it isn’t a drudgery.

On the other hand, jetting around and living out of a suitcase in hotel rooms isn’t exactly blowing my skirt up either.  I’ve done way too much of that in my career.  I once crossed 3 continents in 4 days, chasing meetings.  When I was informed that I was being re-assigned, a little bird whispered in my ear that I would be flying out to a neighbouring country, to have a look-see at their facilities.

I then found out my passport was as dead as a dodo.  Which necessitated me running down to the Immigration Office this morning.  Mental note, never try to deal with Government Departments during the fricking school holidays.

Assuming everything gets done by Friday, I’ll be away for a week.  The one saving grace is that where I’ll be is a Yamaha R-6 Valentino Rossi Limited Edition.  If the owner is kind (or crazy) enough to let me ride it, I’ll be posting pictures and a test ride report.

Back in cubicle country. 8/21/2006

I reported in this morning, back to the tower. High up in the sky, with a great view of the haze from the office. Everything was quiet. I walked in, and had a chat with A., the MIS guy. He told me that the MD had allocated a double sized cubicle for me, bigger than anyone else’s. I asked A. why this should be so, and A. replied that the MD wanted me to have room to work, and that I was a big guy. I replied to A. that I wondered what the MD would do if RR. walked in, since RR. was about 3 times my size.

God only knows what I’m going to do with so much office real estate. The last time I had a proper office all to myself, my desk was big enough to play table tennis on. Along with a lounge suite and coffee table. I just missed the attached bathroom perk. But these days, in the corporate world, cubicles are becoming more and more the norm, along with the loss of privacy.

But I didn’t care so much. I’m just glad to be in an office with flushing toilets. And toilet paper.

The taste of sucess. 8/20/2006

Loris Capirossi wins it for Ducati in Brno. Second win for the 2006 season for Ducati. Loris won it in 43′ 40″ 145, some 4.9 seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Valentino Rossi. He also set a new lap record for fastest lap along the way, clocking 1′ 58″ 157, eclipsing the previous lap record set by Rossi in 2005.

A great effort from Loris Capirossi, and even more hard work by the man in the center in the photograph above, Livio Suppo. I’ve had the privilege of hoisting beers with Livio, and I found him to be a very serious, focused man. Who also has a bit of a sense of humour, though he doesn’t show it much. The pressure on him as the man in charge of the Marlboro Ducati Corse MotoGP team is immense.

Many of us think we face pressure everyday in our daily life. We probably do. But in Livio’s case, his performance measurement is immediate. The clock does not lie. The motorcycle, the rider, the team, everything under his charge has to mesh, and work perfectly, every single time. I’ve had, on occassion, run privateer teams in motorcycle racing. Very amateur type stuff, on a very basic level. And even then, the pressure on me to manage the team, was great. A thousand and one things that you have to think about, and consider.

No doubt Livio has an entire support staff under him, as well as the resources of an entire factory standing behind, but the ultimate responsibility for success, or failure, of the team, is his, and his alone.

All pictures courtesy of Ducati Corse Press website. 

Dances with Elephants - Corporate cordiality.

Last Friday, we made a run down to the Sanctuary, to meet some possible corporate sponsors. Through Hmx’s contacts, he has managed to interest a local corporate giant in providing expertise, resources and sponsorship for Mados’ rig. Fair enough when they asked about the public relations mileage they could get out of it. As long as it helps Mados, and any other elephants that may need the rig.

When we got there, Mados was having his feed. The little guy was pleased to see me again, I think.

Picture removed at Elephant Man’s request.

Everyone made a big fuss over him, and he lapped up the attention. I will have to, sometime next week, get in touch with Mados’ vet, and have a chat with him about the little guys legs. I need to lay my hands on the x-rays, and then after speaking to the doctor, decide how we can get his legs straight, and strong enough for him to put his weight on them. Which will probably involve re-breaking the fractures, and re-setting the bones. I’m not looking forward to that, and probably neither is Mados, but it will have to be done, if the little guy is going to have a chance to survive.

The Elephant Man was impressed with Mados. “He’s a fighter” was the comment.

Picture removed at Elephant Man’s request.
Mados meets a Girl Friday.

The Elephant Man took the corporate guys on a short tour of the premises, showing them the pen where the elephants are kept. He explained the purpose and intentions of the sanctuary, and pointed out that the sanctuary was also geared to hold corporate family days and such. The corporate guys perked their ears up at this, and hopefully this will generate more external sponsorship and support for the Sanctuary, especially in the very expensive area of elephant rescues.

I had a discussion with the professor brought along by the corporate guys, and one of his lecturers. The engineering shorthand we were speaking I think left everyone a little perplexed, but they got the idea of what my rig design entails, and they are going to further refine the design, and that leaves me free to work on the portable rig that will be brought into the jungle for rescues.

Have you washed behind the ears?

The Elephant Man also brought along a volleyball for the young elephants to play with. If anyone would like to donate a large medicine ball used for exercise, please get in touch with me. Small footballs and the such are simply not designed to stand up under the punishment a baby elephant can subject it to. Baby elephants need play and love, just like human children.

It was good seeing the elephants in the Sanctuary again, after a 2 week break. The Elephant Man repeated his invitation for Hmx and myself to join him on an elephant rescue up north. I won’t be able to make it this month, because work is going to get in the way, but perhaps next month. The Sanctuary staff are currently tracking a herd of wild elephants, and the plan is to try and relocate the herd to the National Park over the course of the enxt few months.

In and amongst other random conversation in the car, the Elephant Man also mentioned that he was running jungle warfare as part of his corporate training and team building, which he does for a living. He spoke about his small squad tactics used in paintball jungle warfare. Yes, paintball, in a real jungle environment. None of these oil drums and other man made constructions. Where the participants find out, in the most direct way, that the jungle is indeed very neutral.

Elephant Man said I could join his team of assistants. We had a short discussion on small squad tactics, and lots of memories came flooding back. Everytime I talk to this guy, it’s always bittersweet. Some things should remain buried in memory.

| older posts »